Bananas and plantains (Musa spp.) provide a staple food for many millions of people living in the humid tropics. The genomic constitution of the diploids has been classified as AB, and that of the triploids as AAB or ABB; however, the morphology of many accessions is biased towards either the A or B phenotype and does not conform to predictions based on these genomic formulae. On the basis of published cytotypes, De Langhe et al. hypothesize that the evolution under domestication of cultivated banana hybrids is likely to have passed through an intermediate hybrid, which was then involved in a variety of backcrossing events. Such a complex origin of the cultivated banana hybrids would imply a reconsideration of current breeding strategies.
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